Iraq — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:50 pm on 18th December 2008.

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Photo of Lord Soley Lord Soley Labour 2:50 pm, 18th December 2008

My Lords, does my noble friend accept that there are two aspects to any inquiry that may be held? I think all of us accept the need for an inquiry into the post-conflict situation. Many of us recognise that the failure to provide sufficient troops after the successful invasion and the dismemberment of the Iraqi state without forces being put in place to maintain security was a serious matter. Many of those aspects are known but still deserve an inquiry.

That is, however, not the end of it, as some people imply. If we take the long view, there is the question, to which my noble friend has already alluded, of how we deal with psychopathic killers in charge of nation states. In 1991 we chose not to remove Saddam Hussein; we left him in power, despite the fact that at the time we had the support of the regional powers. The question then became: how many people died in that period? There were literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands. This is not a zero-sum game. When you choose to remove a dictator, many deaths may follow; if you choose to leave the dictator in power, many deaths will certainly follow and the United Nations will continue to be flouted, as it was by Saddam Hussein. The issue is complex. I am in favour of an inquiry, but I do not want it to be just on the immediate issue of the post-conflict situation, important though that is.